We went to Changi Beach Park and had been swimming for a few hours, when I decided to get out of the water and get into dry clothes. I noticed a number of stray cats milling around, healthy and robust, and blending in with the surroundings. On my way back from the changing room however, I came across an orange and white male cat, near the Bistro Changi restaurant.
On the way to the vet
I stopped to give him some attention, with each and every pat I felt his pain and yet I could tell that he felt some relief at the same time. I felt my heart break. He was severely emaciated and in poor health as I patted him, I could feel the pronounced ridge of his spine, could see the way his ribs showed through his sides. There was mucous dripping from his nostrils, and yellow pus coming from his right eye, while his left eye had a black crust in the corner. His head was oversized for his body. His right ear appeared to be chewed up at the tip. His fur was streaked with black dirt that blended into his skin. Overall, he looked like a living skeleton.
He looked at me with the saddest, most weary gaze, and opened his mouth to mew, but there was no sound. Through tearing eyes, I noticed that the right side of his face was extremely swollen to the size of a big lime. My heart went out to him. It was obvious that he was in acute discomfort and pain, and without medical attention, he would continue to waste away until he succumbed to his ailments. I attempted to entice him with fish (from the nearby nasi lemak shop) and water in hopes that he might eat. The cat's eager reaction indicated that he was ravenous; but after a few feeble bites, he appeared to retch in extreme pain, and I realized that hungry as he was, he was unable to chew or swallow; only by breaking the fish into tiny fragments was he able to eat a little, but still in great discomfort.
Years of suffering on the streets
My wife and I realized that this pitiful creature would not survive for much longer on his own. Despite his poor condition, Sparticus, as we named him, was extremely affectionate and craved affection. He kept rubbing himself up against my legs, and even sat down next to me, trusting me with every fibre of his being to keep him safe and sound. I knew I couldn't disappoint his trusting soul. Questions raced through my mind. How did he end up in this state? How many years had he been here? Would he survive? I hoped he would, he was such a lovely soul, with so much love to give. It just broke my heart that he would suffer a slow painful death.
Hardship and sadness written on his face
We saw HOPE Dog Rescue's profile on Facebook, and placed our own hope in the fact that despite priority concern for dogs, HOPE also cares about the welfare of felines, and could help us with this poor cat. Despite his apprehensiveness, Sparticus was simply too weak to resist being collected and taken to the Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre. There, Dr. Chan took Sparticus into her care and provided an initial assessment.
Dr Chan reckoned he is rather old, perhaps 8 or 9 years old
Extremely weak and dehydrated
Sparticus weighed 3.06 kg, and was dangerously dehydrated. He had large, excruciating ulcers on the back of his tongue, which had made it so difficult to eat; the large lump on his jaw was due to a severely inflamed lymph node. As she felt his gut, she noted that he had a lot of gas and his gut was unusually thick; the only hopeful sign for him was that his temperature was normal. Dr Chan had Sparticus put on intravenous drip to rehydrate him, and a blood test was done to diagnose his condition, which turned out to be FIV (Feline Aids). She explained that even after his physical rehabilitation, returning him to Changi would inevitably be futile, because without human care, he would only continue to deteriorate. He requires the compassion and love of a foster care giver, or better still, a caring person willing to adopt him. Even though he's been a stray all his life, Sparticus has a sweet and affectionate disposition, and only needs his love reciprocated.
Emaciated and dehydrated
Sparticus is still warded at the vet and we are hoping that someone will offer him a home instead of having to disappoint him and put him back on the streets.
Safe for the first time in his life. Help give him a home before he is discharged.
To help Sparticus, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Story contributed by Mike B. Photographs courtesy of Mike B and Esther Low.